Entrepreneur, Startup Awards finalist, and member of telecoms firm Telefonica’s Wayra startup accelerator scheme, Erika Brodnock, tells us how scaling up and thinking positive doesn't necessarily have to be straight forward.
I'm building a global brand. It's a mantra I repeat to myself on a regular basis. It's something I say to the team a lot too. The question is though, is it to convince them or is it to convince me?
Of course, I want a global brand. I do often ask myself however, whether I have what it takes to get from point A to point B. Some days it feels as though my journey resembles a jumbled ball of string on the floor twisted, turned and knotted at several points, as opposed to the straight line it seems everyone else took to grow their business and brand.
I started to ask questions about founders who appeared to have overnight successes and - quelle surprise - some overnight successes took as long as five years (and in one case, 15 years) to come! That's not to say some don't go from idea to exit inside twelve months - I've stumbled on a couple of those too, it's just not as normal as it appears to be by the time we read the headlines.
I've had a fair few babies and it's a similar sort of thing, by the time the baby is sleeping through the night and starting school, the parents have forgotten the pains of pregnancy and the early days when three hours sleep was a good night!
So how do we achieve greatness? How do we get from startup to scale-up?
My opinion, is that it truly is a numbers game. Crossing the Chasm, the title of Geoffrey Moore's startup founder's bible, is something that every startup needs to do. Knowing the lifecycle of each of the customer groups identified in the book provides a structure for transitioning between said customer groups and making it to mass market appeal.
I'm also a massive fan of partnerships that provide strength in numbers and create a triple win: a win for your partner, a win for you and a win for a group, customer or community you're both serving.
Big corporations like Nike, American Express, Microsoft and PepsiCo have created accelerators, investment funds, and other programs aimed at startups. A special favourite of mine was the Chivas ‘Win the Right Way’ competition where social enterprises can win money for providing their service that benefits the community or the world at large and benefit from the opportunities to partner with Chivas if there is brand fit, in addition to mentoring and support.
So Chivas have effectively moved from one consumer group to another by providing a win for us (social enterprises), them and the communities served by the eventual prize winners. It's the very best way to do business and I'm sure that over the coming years more and more companies will realise that doing good in this way is also good business.
'Doing good is also good business.'
There's still much to be learned by me when it comes to business and I'm both inspired and grateful that I have the opportunity to learn from the giants that have gone before me. I'll keep writing and updating you on my journey in hope that one day Karisma Kidz will be a Big Fish in a Big Pond and I'll be able to tell you just how I got there!
Entrepreneur, Startup Awards finalist, and member of telecoms firm Telefonica’s Wayra startup accelerator scheme, Erika Brodnock writes for Club about the trial, tribulations and joys of setting up your own business. She founded Karisma Kidz, which aims to teach children social and emotional skills through a mix of physical toys and digital games. Follow her on Twitter @ErikaBrodnock and visit the Karisma Kidz website.